With the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall soon approaching, I wanted to create a table setting reflective of those two combined seasons. A few years ago my sister had given me a set of four hand-sewn placemats. Their colors were “fall”ish, but their theme or focus was on fresh herbs – such as basil, thyme, rosemary, etc. The variety of fresh herbs portrayed made me think of them in all their Summer glory, while the darker colors of the placemats made me think of Fall. It was these two combinations that became the focus of this tablescape.
And so, these are the wonderful placemats that started everything. All dishes, stemware, napkins, etc. were selected and were based solely on the colors that were displayed in the placemats. This same formula was also used for my choice of a centerpiece. This selection process was a bit different than my “normal” way of setting tables. Some of my choices were surprising – even to me. It just goes to prove that thinking outside the box can sometimes produce fun and exciting results!
One of the surprising choices I made was using mushrooms in my centerpiece. They were not real; however, they sure looked the part. Thinking of summertime and all the fresh fruit and produce associated with it – along with the herbs pictured on the placemats – I thought mushrooms would look perfect sitting on this moss-covered wreath. Their colors were also perfect for the upcoming Fall season, so this is a centerpiece that will transition from Summer to Fall quite easily. Nuts, oranges and flowers were also used on the wreath – all of which engulfed a rustic hurricane lamp.
Now this part was so much fun. I had never done anything like this before, and yet it worked perfectly. I first retrieved some beautiful amber glasses, and then filled them with water. I then snipped fresh basil and submerged them into the glasses – with just the tips of their leaves exposed. Lastly, I placed little tea lights in the water and lit them. One interesting thing happened … the leaves of the basil actually helped support the candles. They did not float from one side to the other. The look of the basil shining through the water, along with the shimmering lights, was absolutely beautiful. And did I mention? The basil gave off a ever-so-light aroma of fresh herbs – just perfect for the theme of this tablescape.
Raiding my cabinets, I stumbled upon some lovely amber and green glassware. Their colors were perfect. These tumblers are from the Whitehall pattern and they look very similar to the Fostoria American pattern. They are what I call a Fostoria “Look-Alike”, and I use them quite often. Their colors are simply beautiful – either viewed in natural sunlight or when sitting beside an open flame. I love vintage glassware, and this is one of the reasons why.
Next came the plates. Both are vintage. The bottom gold plate is from Homer Laughlin, in the Coventry Castilian pattern. It has a beautiful dark design in the center, which really complimented the dark background of the placemat. The smaller glass plate had a lovely hue of green – perfect for serving a salad. These dishes are from Indiana Glass, in the Thumbprint pattern. The two plates, one atop the other, were a perfect pairing.
As I was testing out which napkins to use, I did not really find any that suited my fancy. While trying out different colors, I had left one of the bigger napkins in place – and just quickly placed a contrasting colored one on top of it. It was a joyous moment of discovery, even if it all happened by accident. I really liked how the double-layered napkins looked! And so I thought … “Will this look odd to have two napkins?” I finally decided “No”‘; it will not. I admit it; I probably broke some table setting rules along the way. I determined that the guests can use the top one for their lap – and the second one can sit idly by, if needed. If all else fails, the bottom napkins will help keep the soiled utensils (when placed back on the table by our dining guests) from staining my sister’s placemats. At least that was my logic – and I’m sticking to it 🙂
This beautiful tablescape is one that I consider dual in purpose – one that can be used in either Summer or Fall. I never would have thought about it had it not been for those placemats previously given to me from my sister, Joan. Hence, this post is dedicated to her. I hope she will be proud that I not only still have them, but that I actually use them.
Inspiration comes in the most unusual of places. In this case, it was a placemat. Remember, it is always possible to turn any dish or textile into an amazing outfit for your dining room table. Enjoy!